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Councilors will take next steps to vote on resolution at Monday, Aug. 1, meeting

Oregon voters authorized the nation's first psilocybin program in a 2020 ballot initiative, which also provided for a two-year phase-in. But the law also allows counties and cities to opt out, subject to voter approval in general elections that are conducted every two years. The deadline is Aug. 19 for city councils and county boards to act this year.

Sandy city councilors discussed their stance on the issue at their Monday, July 18, meeting, deciding eventually to proceed with an ordinance that would prohibit psilocybin facilities within the city (with no set end date).

The resolution to do so will appear on the Aug. 1 council meeting agenda. To refer this decision to the Sandy voters on the Nov. 8 ballot, the council will have to pass an ordinance with a resolution and submit it to county elections by Aug. 18.

Then, that ordinance wouldn't take effect unless Sandy voters approve it, since local prohibitions must be referred and approved by the voters, according to state law.

"Ballot Measure 109, known as the Oregon Psilocybin Service Act (codified at ORS 475A), allows for the manufacture, delivery and administration of psilocybin (mushrooms) at licensed facilities," city recorder Jeff Aprati said in a staff report to the council.

"The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has begun the rule-making process to implement Measure 109 and will begin accepting applications for psilocybin licenses in January 2023. This means local governments need to begin thinking about whether and to what extent they want to impose regulations on these types of facilities soon," he said.

In their conversation, Councilor Don Hokanson spoke about the potential benefits of psilocybin for patients undergoing certain medical treatments, as was promoted to voters when Measure 109 was put on the 2020 ballot.

"Unlike marijuana, with this particular (drug) there are certain medical uses that are developing that are quite dramatic, potentially life-changing," Hokanson said. "Assistance with depression, PTSD and other serious things that affect a large part of our community. If down the road this becomes more mainstream and somebody wants to move that into their clinic, I believe with option one (prohibiting facilities in Sandy city limits), we'll have respect from their practice using that down the road."

Hokanson asked if the council were to adopt the presented prohibition option: "What would it take to roll this back if that becomes more of a mainstream thing?" to which Mayor Stan Pulliam said the council of the time could take action to revisit the topic.

Aprati clarified that "they could choose to repeal the blanket prohibition and replace it with more nuanced 'time, place and manner' regulations in the municipal code" at a later date.

All Sandy City Council meetings are open to the public and can be attended virtually by visiting the city website.

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